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The Creative Social

Location: Online
Dates: 2020 – 2021

Project overview

Initially intended to be a year long programme of scene building activity as part of the Hartlepool, Church Street residency, we had to pivot in response to the Coronavirus outbreak; Accordingly, we developed a new, phased programme of activity in response to the challenges of the pandemic.

The Creative Social Phase 1: Access to expertise in lockdown

From March to July, we developed and delivered a series of commissioned blog posts and webinars by industry experts with a focus on navigating the challenges of lockdown and supporting planning for recovery. Sub-branded as ‘The New Normal?’ the programme was targeted at arts professionals in the wider Tees Valley area and North East broadly with additional professional development opportunities targeted directly at producers and emerging practitioners in Hartlepool.

An initial four sessions were programmed for the summer, with the intention of returning to in-person activity by September. 

The webinars and accompanying blogs were themed as follows:

● Festivals and events post-Covid with Paul Gudgin

● Theatre-making in lockdown with Fuel Theatre and Gyre & Gimble

● Music and touring during the pandemic with Soweto Kinch

● Fear and hope for documentary with Jeanie Finlay

What happened next?

Festivals & Events – 6 months on

Paul Gudgin returned to chair a panel of industry experts and discuss the position of festivals and events six months on from the first event. Panel members included Arc’s Annabel Turpin, Toronto Fringe Festival’s Bridget Hamilton, Eric Stuart from the UK Crowd Management Association and Artichoke producer Kate Harvey.

Creative Social Phase 2: Mentoring, Internships & Network Development

Having concluded the first part of the programme we decided to take a more targeted, developmental approach for the second phase of the project. We wanted to build on positive feedback from the professional development and mentoring elements of the programme. In particular as the new academic year approached it felt important to adapt our plans to reflect the negative impact of the pandemic on opportunities for creative industries students and graduates by arranging a number of paid festival internships and access to a creative mentoring programme.

Supported by Northern School of Art and offered to all final year students and 2020 graduates, the mentoring programme paired applicants on a one-to-one basis with sector professionals from Creative Industries to offer directly relevant experience, supporting the participants of the programme to take their crucial first steps in the career area of their choice.

A Great Place Tees Valley project, funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England,
commissioned by Hartlepool Borough Council and the Tees Valley Combined Authority.